electric house concept rendering

Report | 2024

Virtual Power Plant Flipbook

How utilities and their customers are already benefitting from VPPs and insights for future implementation.

By The Virtual Power Plant Partnership’s Utilities Working Group, Mary Tobin,  Kevin Brehm,  Lauren Shwisberg
Download the report below

In the face of mounting challenges from electricity load growth and extreme weather, each year more utilities are developing virtual power plant (VPP) programs to maintain and enhance grid reliability, resilience, safety, and affordability. VPPs are grid-integrated aggregations of distributed energy resources such as batteries, electric vehicles, smart thermostats, and other connected devices. Utilities use or develop VPPs to provide critical grid services in a rapidly changing power system, including:

  • As an alternative to procuring energy, peaking capacity, or ancillary services from utility-scale resources
  • To alleviate stressed transmission and distribution systems
  • To support grid resilience, especially with increasingly dynamic and extreme weather patterns
  • To add flexibility to integrate more renewable energy and decarbonize energy supply

Developing a VPP can be challenging. VPPs often require the development of new program structures, customer engagement strategies, and ways of working with public and private partnerships.

Fortunately, we do not need to start from scratch. There is a wealth of experience that utilities and industry partners can tap as they develop a new program or refine existing programs.

The VPP Flipbook is a collection of VPP case studies highlighting key program design elements and takeaways to help utilities and other stakeholders implement efficient and impactful VPP programs.  The VPPs included in the flipbook showcase a variety of technologies, utility participation models, compensation frameworks, and third-party partnership roles to demonstrate the versatility of existing VPPs. The supporting VPP Comparison Matrix consolidates information from the Flipbook to allow the user to filter for VPPs most applicable to their needs.

The list of programs is not comprehensive, but instead a useful starting point for utility program managers, grid operators, grid planners, and other stakeholders as they implement VPPs at their utility. This resource will be expanded periodically as VPPs continue to launch and evolve.

Please reach out to Mary Tobin (mary.tobin@rmi.org) with any suggestions, additional VPPs to feature, or questions about VPP implementation.

Download the Supporting Matrix